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February 4, 2020 7:16 AM   Subscribe

• Pack-Ratting in Video Games: Do Players Have to Have It All? [Gamasutra] “Many people like to collect. It is a compulsion, a hobby, maybe even an instinct. Video games these days have noticed this behavior. If players love to scavenger hunt whenever they pick up a controller, then developers have a responsibility to manage this compulsion. How does a developer do this; put systems in place to manage or outright prevent players from hoarding? They usually either limit the player to encourage them to think about what they carry, or they encourage the player to grab all that they can find. The most important thing a developer needs to figure out is when to do one or the other. When it is fine to let a pack rat roam free? [...] Regardless of if the game is fast or slow paced in a relative sense, playing a game should not feel like a chore. The developer can get around this by either keeping the actual amount small, or by centering an interesting mechanic/mini game around it. Similarly, if a game developer decides to place limits on what or how much a player can carry, that player is more willing to accept the limitation if there is a clear dynamic at work.”

• Fallout 4 Has A Ton of Junk, And It's Stressing Me Out [Kotaku]
“Everything in the world of Fallout is now useful. And that’s exactly the problem. As you may have heard, Fallout 4 now has a robust crafting system. Anything you find, no matter how broken down or random it is, can probably be used to modify your weapon, customize your settlement, or perhaps even to make some chems. This is a cool idea! It means that you’re constantly scrounging and making use of whatever you can, and that feels like an appropriate detail for the post-apocalypse. Macguyvering junk is probably how people survive in a world like this. It makes sense, at least on paper. But in practice? It means I’m constantly drowning in stuff I can use, because the wasteland is littered with crap. It’s just...everywhere. In every corner, in every crevice, in every safe: there it is. Garbage. Useful garbage, hilariously enough. Every single cup, lamp, scrap, and tin can I come across could be used for something down the line. Do I pick it up? How much is too much? How do I fight the impulse to take EVERYthing with me, just in case? That’s what RPGs have trained me to do, after all: hoard, hoard, hoard. But it’s a vice that’s proving detrimental in Fallout 4, because the more I pick up, the more I have to sort through my inventory.”
• The Outer Worlds highlights the RPG genre’s inventory problem [VG24/7]
“As modern RPGs increasingly lean towards open worlds, weight limits play an important structural function in dictating the length of adventures – periodically sending you back to a settlement to ensure there’s a satisfying loop to enjoy, rather than an endless push forwards that leaves you without an anchor or sense of home. Would Megaton have meant anything to you if Bethesda hadn’t given you reasons to go back? That said, there’s no question encumberment slows down the action – perhaps too much in an age when plenty else in RPGs has been streamlined to meet slick triple-A standards. It doesn’t mix particularly well with games that forefront simulation either, which tend to make inventory objects out of everything not nailed down. Just ask Alice Liguori, a friend in Rock Paper Shotgun’s video team, who co-hosts a Let’s Play of Divinity: Original Sin 2. Every so often, she has to make time to spring clean the inventory off-camera. Junk disposal is no spectator sport. Fallout in particular has become more and more sluggish since the series implemented a construction system. Now practically every item in the world can be broken down for its constituent parts. When nothing is worthless, it becomes difficult to work out what you can leave behind –”
• Exploiting an Inventory System: An Ode to Mules [Paste Magazine]
“And so I find myself in a position I haven’t been in for years. I’ve been using mules. Whereas I’m generally a law-abiding citizen in terms of game rules, when faced with the prospect of dusting off something special but neglected and give it purpose, I cave. In Diablo II, I achieved this with the help of a friend, someone who could hold my spot while I hopped in with another character and picked up my drops. In Borderlands 2, I abuse the mailbox system. I have a level 6 Psycho carrying level 50 guns and Legendary gear, holding onto them despite their obsolescence because they bear promise. The promise of that one great run, the file where you come in, guns literally a-blazin’, tearing a path through your enemies with the confidence that you’ve manufactured the perfect build. How could anyone let that fantasy go? Of course, there are all sorts of problems with using a mule. It can be time-consuming and unreliable, and there’s always a chance something could disappear. There’s also something to be said about having some limits on what you can drag along with you in the game. Weight management can be a fun strategic consideration. My Skyrim inventory is also an illustration of how difficult finding a single weapon in a sea of hundreds can be. But a mule, for better or worse, doesn’t ask me to let go. While the items I store often represent a sense of safety, reflecting my need to feel prepared for any occasion, my mules buy me some time.”
posted by Fizz (85 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
A few things:

Your first priority in Stardew Valley is to plant enough seeds and harvest enough crops to give you the money to buy a bag upgrade. The first upgrade will cost you $2,000g and the final upgrade will cost you $10,000g. They're worth the grind. Having more space to carry things around will make life so much easier to deal with.

Also, do yourself a favor and create a storage bin at the entrance to the caves, it'll also make your life and any inventory management much better.

Also, also, I hate the inventory system in Fallout 4. I hate all the junk (yes I know it's useful) but ugh, it feels so tedious to deal with.

On the subject of inventory tetris (Resident Evil 4, Path of Exile, Deus Ex), it's a bit easier but just as annoying.

I guess what I'm saying is that you should let me carry ALL things. In most of these games I am magic, so why not let my bag be magic and bottomless as well.

*drops mic*
posted by Fizz at 7:22 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


I don't play a lot of games, but I did recently put Stardew Valley on my phone. Because I'm not a game player, I don't necessarily know the tropes, so I find myself keeping 10 of everything (because for one season I kept one of everything, and some of the town hall bundles wanted 10 of something). Also, I don't really trust the developer, and the few games of this sort have had utterly wacky combos that I needed to Google to figure out, so I never know when those broken glasses will need to be combined with a kumquat and a wallaby to create a coffee maker that'll be gifted to one of the characters for a necessary plot advancement.

Which I think is something to game developers and authors still figuring out the genre. When I do play a game, I tend to over-grind at the beginning because I like kinda waltzing through puzzles, enjoying the story without spending a lot of time worried about survival. If the game mechanics are good, gimme god mode, or at least something as easily gamed as Half-Life 2's difficulty mechanics (deliberately enter every firefight with like 10% health, completely nerfs the opponents).

And, I suppose, if we've gotten used to those tropes the games kind of auto-level for players like me who want to experience the game one way vs another.
posted by straw at 7:32 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I remember crawling in skyrim for half an hour because I refused to put down a dragon scale.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:37 AM on February 4 [50 favorites]


If you don't pick up the junk mail, you can't get the Babel Fish. And that's how I became a hoarder, way back in 1989.
posted by kimota at 7:38 AM on February 4 [62 favorites]


Don’t play No Man’s Sky, then - the inventory limits are insane and you can buy inventory slots, up to a limit. The game has its own periodic table and every element is usable and sellable, though some of it is not worth the effort of carting it around.

And apparently, people will occasionally randomly hand you incredibly valuable stuff, just because, though that’s never happened to me.

Downside of the game is that it’s Minecraft In Space and they haven’t exactly figured out what to do with themselves, yet. Upsides, it’s still fun and apparently has a great community (I don’t participate - I’m anti-social).
posted by drivingmenuts at 7:41 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


never know when those broken glasses will need to be combined with a kumquat and a wallaby to create a coffee maker

There was an infamous adventure game--google tells me King's Quest V--that had inventory limits *and* to win the game you needed to carry around Chekhov's pie from chapter one until the end of the game. Otherwise you can't defeat the Yeti.
posted by mark k at 7:45 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


And worse, what caused me to bounce off both Fallout and Skyrim on consoles, is that to pick up stuff from the environment, you have to carefully move the reticle over every thing and click on pick up, again and again and again. That's not a big deal on a mouse/keyboard PC, but it's a gigantic pain in the ass on a twinstick console. I have no idea how people who are console natives ever dealt with those games, ugh.
posted by Kyol at 7:45 AM on February 4


Earth certainly is full of things. Players should pick up everything. They should roll it into a ball they push in front of themselves, ever growing in size until it crushes everything in its path.

Naaaaaa na-na na-na nah nah nah na-na na na-na nah...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:56 AM on February 4 [58 favorites]


Don’t play No Man’s Sky, then - the inventory limits are insane and you can buy inventory slots, up to a limit.

They changed the inventory limits in the 2.0 patch: No Man’s Sky Beyond basically removes resource inventory limits.
posted by Pendragon at 7:57 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Don’t play No Man’s Sky, then - the inventory limits are insane and you can buy inventory slots, up to a limit. The game has its own periodic table and every element is usable and sellable, though some of it is not worth the effort of carting it around.
My solution to this has been to hoard the actual elements themselves, and then treat building something complex as a "quest" to build it up from its constituent parts. It has a side-effect of meaning I can sell almost all the fancy rare stuff I find to get lots of money for frigates and whatever, and it gives me a reason to go exploring beyond "catalogue all the plants, animals, and minerals," which has always been my favourite part of the game.
posted by Fish Sauce at 7:59 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


When my middle school-aged friends and I played D&D, we didn't give a single thought to how much an already armor and weapon encumbered person could carry. We probably had more weight just in rope than was realistic, even before the treasure was piled on. Hence, the "Bag of Holding:" I suppose.
posted by thelonius at 8:00 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I am a Final Fantasy XIV character with a perennial inventory space problem. If you are doing any crafting or gathering (and you really should be, crafting is an economical way of acquiring items, especially for the solo player), you are collecting a lot of materials. Sometimes you have a shopping list of sorts and you are gathering for a specific purpose, but sometimes you get a drop and you think "I could sell this" or "I don't need this now, but I may need it later" or "when my Y crafting class gets to level X, I will need this, and I don't want to have to come back all this way to get it later." You don't want me to have all kinds of weapons and armor at my fingertips? Then force me not to be able to level all of the gathering/crafting classes at the same time, or require me to be working in concert with a guild, or better yet, give me a bottomless inventory chest in a fixed location to pull from when I craft. You could even make me pay small amounts of money to pull or store items (though I could see this going very wrong)!

There are games in which having a limited inventory makes sense. Survival games of all genres depend on you picking up only what is going to be most useful,whether it be to your immediate survival and safety or for selling/trading/crafting with later. Collecting something has to be done with intention, an intention that it can be fun to set when building one's idea of a character and treating a play of the game as a role-playing experience, not just the game as itself. Fallout 4 complicates this because it is a survival game (or a game set in a world necessitating survival strategies) but also a building game. Any kind of fantasy game could just as easily have this stuff hand-waved away, or institute a system where you have your acquired items taken to base for processing.

Shoutouts to the Torchlight system, in which you could offload a number of items to your companion creature, and then they would return to base for you, sell all of the items you gave it, and return with money. I have waited very patiently in dangerous dungeons for my pet spider to return - not merely with my money, but also to be able to take another load of junk/replaced weapons and armor out of my inventory.
posted by koucha at 8:04 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


I'm definitely right there as a hoarder/collector/completionist. As it happens, the only game I'm currently playing is WoW, and I was able to channel this need into crafting recipes, which are learned and then don't take up inventory.

Then they introduced transmog where you can collect gear appearances and mix and match them basically at will, and my wife likes to do transmog for me, so that became my obsession. It's still non-inventory, so I'm good, right?

Well, a lot of appearances are only found on crafted items. Hey, I've got all the recipes, so now I need to hoard all the crafting materials. Happily, I recently got an add-on that lets me mouse over a crafting material and it will tell me if it's useable for crafting an appearance I don't have yet, so I'm beginning to get it under control, and the few things I still do physically collect (fishing rods, legendaries, beer steins...) don't take up *that* much space.
posted by Four Ds at 8:05 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


developers have a responsibility to... manage or outright prevent players from hoarding

In the world of rare retro game cartridges, the player now simply hoardes all the physical copies of the game.
posted by fairmettle at 8:11 AM on February 4


Everquest 2 had inventory limits, and junk items. I played a gnome; sometimes, I did some light roleplay. I definitely packratted; I had a bag that had nothing but [a broken clock] and [a date] and [festive fruitcake] from the Christmas event 3 years prior, that kind of thing.

it was fun to be able to just randomly have things, though it did mean I sometimes had to do town runs a little more frequently than I wanted.
posted by Fraxas at 8:15 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The survival horror game The Forest has a really strange way of managing inventory.

On the one hand, your inventory can contain an insane number of discrete items -- you could find yourself holding like 4 different kinds of axes, a bow, arrows, a bunch of animal skins, a bundle of sticks, a flashlight, food, medicine, like a dozen cans of soda, etc, etc, etc. The inventory screen itself basically looks like a giant blue tarp covered in stuff (and is a nightmare to find anything in, it is not sortable and you just have to know where to find things). Ostensibly this all fits in your backpack I guess?

But then you have scenarios like: you can't pick up any more sticks, but if you craft two of your sticks into a spear you can keep that and now you have room for more sticks.

Basically, your inventory has dedicated slots for dozens of things, and you can hold a maximum number of that thing at which point you're allowed to pick up other things but not this thing. Also there's various bag upgrades (e.g. craft a stick bag so you can hold twice as many sticks, a spear bag so you can hold twice as many spears, etc). You can't pick up any more blueberries but you can pick up blackberries because you don't have many of those.

There's quite a lot more weirdness in the game of course, but the inventory is just super strange nonetheless.
posted by tocts at 8:20 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The worst inventory system I have ever used was resident evil 6. There was a lot wrong with that game, but the inventory system was the worst part of it. To select something you have to scroll sideways through a rotating menu, and that includes selecting your guns. Ran out of ammo at a critical moment? Oops, your only other gun with ammo is at the opposite side of the loop, better scroll fast and not overshoot trying to fricking scroll with a joystick. Also there is no way to drop anything so the further you get into the game the more you have to scroll! No junk, but if you pick up something you better like it because you have it forever now.

I really enjoyed the previous resident evil that just gave you, like, 8 slots and you had to make hard decisions about what to carry. I am not a packrat and I actually really don't like crafting systems in games. They're just a way to make me have to carry otherwise worthless things around. I'd rather just compulsively steal valuables.
posted by stillnocturnal at 8:21 AM on February 4


I feel so called out by this article lol
posted by Kitchen Witch at 8:29 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I had several bank alts and personal guild banks full of god-knows-what in World of Warcraft. Every cool-looking weapon, even if I couldn't equip them. Every tier set of gear. (And it only got worse when transmog became a thing.) Tons of holiday/seasonal stuff. Stacks and stacks of mats and jewels and potions and flasks. Notes that came with mail that my friends had sent.

This is also why tailors always made good money on crafting and selling ginormous inventory bags.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:29 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I hate grinding at the best of times. It's boring and feels like I'm just doing the same battles over and over again until I'm sufficiently powerful to finally advance the plot. Games with crafting mechanics and the attendant hoarding these often require are absolute hell for me, most of the time.

That said, sometimes it works quite well. Don't Starve was a good one. It's been a long time since I've played it, so I don't remember exactly what it was about the mechanics that made it interesting, but it never felt dull and boring to me.
posted by asnider at 8:31 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I've been playing AssCreed Odyssey, which attempts to streamline its inventory, and really it's at this point where it feels like work to deal with. There's an infinite number of generated weapons and armor, and while it was fun to use its thoughtful UI for comparing them in the first few levels, by level fiftysomething I'm just mindlessly selling them or breaking them down into parts to have gold and resources to pour into upgrading one of the unique or very-rare pieces of gear I got somewhere between level 10 and 20 and have been using ever since because they fit the way I'm playing.

There's no need to worry about sorting. No inventory limits; my little Greek demigoddess has access to a pocket dimension to store this endless array of stuff. No need to consider things before I pick them up, there's just an indication that there is A Loot here, I press the Loot button, there's a pleasing little coin-jingle sound effect and a brief flash of icons of more Stuff. Much of which is auto-sorted into the "Trade Items" section. There's a "sell all trade items" button in the blacksmith, and sometimes I look at the huge pile of icons in my Trade Inventory, each with their own description, and think about how many man-months went into making them, and how the game pretty much tells you these things are completely ignorable, and feel incredibly sad.

Then I shrug and go sneak up on some more virtual Spartans and push the button that makes me leap on them and shove a magic super-knife through their entire torso and skull in one swift move and just don't give a damn about this huge sprawling System tacked onto this thing because open-world games need to have A Lot Of Stuff.

and now that I think about it I think I am going to boot it up and spend a minute going through my inventory and relentlessly deleting every single damn "rare" item (which I think is actually more common than "common" ones, or maybe I've just been more relentless about deleting the "common" stuff) and probably all the "epic" stuff except for what I'm actually using.
posted by egypturnash at 8:39 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


No, you're correct: Rare is definitely more common than Common.
posted by aramaic at 8:45 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wish for more realistic carrying capacity in games. I'm currently playing The Outer Wilds, and each time I become encumbered it makes me think about the ridiculous amount I can carry before that happens.

I mean, how am I sneaking about stealthily, sprinting, climbing ladders, aiming precisely, or even having normal conversations with people... while packing four heavy machine guns, three shotguns, three two-handed melee weapons, a few pistols, six sets of armor, five helmets, dozens of boxes of ammo, an entire CVS worth of food and drugs, and three canisters of knockout gas that were the size of a large dog when I grabbed them? But that one more can of saltuna is too much.
posted by Foosnark at 8:46 AM on February 4


I mean, in the real world I feel encumbered when I have to carry more than two grocery bags along with my wallet, keys and cellphone.
posted by Foosnark at 8:47 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Hoarding junk is a pet peeve of mine. Collecting Iron Ore in sufficient quantities to create a sword is so preposterous that it's staggering. I wish there was a moratorium on collecting ore, and scrap and all the other stupid, pointless junk they throw into games. Oh how heroic it is to cart around a ton of rocks.

This has leaked out onto tabletop. I've been playing D&D weekly for a couple years after a 30+ year break. And the players hoard all kinds of shit. Goblin spears, sell for 5 gp? Sure, we have 13 of them. Suits of leather armor, bloody and battle scarred? Throw them in the bag of holding. Some chump in Backwater, Medievalville is willing to pay for as many as you find. It takes the fantasy out of the game for me, and seriously rubs me the wrong way. It's garbage picking. And it makes the economy feel so stupid, like a dumb spreadsheet for min-maxing.

I hate hate hate the gaming packrat mentality. "Oooh, I wanna be like Legolas... remember that time he dragged 37 sets of Orc armor, 45 Orc spears, 47 Orc short swords, and 14 suits of Plate Armor back to Rivendell and sold them to a nameless blacksmith for 4,3021 gold pieces? That was AWESOME"
posted by SoberHighland at 8:47 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I like Monster Hunter World's inventory approach. Essentially you've got a bottomless space to throw raw materials into, but are space-constrained for the can-be-used ones, and have to make judgment calls on what to take with you into the field. That of course really only works because the structure of the game isn't open-world; venturing out and returning back to home base hub is built right into the gameplay loop.
posted by Drastic at 8:48 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


> Torchlight system, in which you could offload a number of items to your companion creature, and then they would return to base for you, sell all of the items you gave it, and return with money.

Minus a reasonable service fee.
posted by genpfault at 8:49 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I hadn't played an RPG in a good while until Tyranny, recently, which had a few nice things about the inventory system:
-It strikes a decent balance between having an interesting variety of items and not having endless minute variations of each weapon or armor. Spells and skills are much more important overall.
-If you hover your mouse over an item that affects your stats in your inventory, it shows the info for it plus a summary comparison to your currently-equipped item for that slot, along the lines of "+1.5dps; -0.25 Recovery; Sundering"
-It indicates the efficacy of weapons in damage per second, so you can easily compare big, slow axes to fast, light daggers
-It auto-sorts the inventory into categories for weapons & armor, trade-only goods, quest items, and potions/consumables
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:52 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I've been playing D&D weekly for a couple years after a 30+ year break. And the players hoard all kinds of shit. Goblin spears, sell for 5 gp? Sure, we have 13 of them.

The current edition D&D rules are light on equipment and encumbrance, but in general you still wouldn't be able to do that. The PHB says that weapons used by monsters are usually worthless (and stipulates that undamaged armor can be sold, so it probably isn't worth stripping the leather armor off the bandit that just took 35 hit points of damage).

It's a sensible system, because if the party is ever disarmed, they can recover weapons from whatever monsters they can ambush, but they aren't encouraged to haul around a lot of junk and sell it. Conversely, if you're picking up a lot of swords and things from defeated humans or whatnot, you're probably in a city, where there'd be a market for that sort of thing (and room and board to consider).

The system also generally handwaves spell components. When I DM and a player says they want to harvest the spleen of whatever monster they killed to make a potion, I'm like, yeah, whatever. It boils down to certain spells (like Raise Dead) basically having a cost in GP to cast.
posted by Gelatin at 8:59 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


I remember crawling in skyrim for half an hour because I refused to put down a dragon scale.

I was once as you were. Then I discovered my inventory management system. Her name is Lydia, and every time I talk to her, she points out that she is SWORN to carry my BURDENS.

Useful, that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:02 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I just started a new game of Fallout: New Vegas[1] the other night. I *know* that I am never going to use that dinky-ass varmint rifle that Sunny Smiles gave me for anything other than plinking the beer bottles on the fence behind the saloon, but I also know that I will probably still be carrying it when I enter the Legion camp to face Legate Lanius (and, if I'm not carrying it, I'll still know where it's stored).



[1] I only have 330 hours in it, and it's been a good couple of years since my last play through. Don't judge.
posted by hanov3r at 9:02 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Gelatin: I'm pretty familiar with the rules about that, but our DM humors the trash-pickers in the group, generally. Not everything is salvageable. But it just irks me. Hence, my describing it as a pet peeve. Along with treating the PHB and the DMG as a Sears Catalog for adventurers.

My time to DM will come. Oh yes, yes it will come...
posted by SoberHighland at 9:11 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Infinite inventory mechanics seem to be sufficiently common in JRPGs that they've bled into light novels and manga with swords-and-sorcery settings. Pretty nearly every main character, whether they're born within the fantasy world or teleported to there from ours, gets a portable warehouse for free as part of generally being so OP they can tickle God's feet. Their inventory-at-their-fingertips power usually has to be hidden from everyone else in their fantasy world, either because it's an unheard-of power, or it's something so incredibly rare that public knowledge would endanger them, raise the attention of mysterious, shadowy and powerful figures, or for some reason make them king (when they'd really rather lead lives of leisure). Although once that plot point is dispensed with, nobody seems to actually notice or mind that they're pulling truck-crushing swords out of the air, or whatever.
posted by ardgedee at 9:20 AM on February 4


I just started a new game of Fallout: New Vegas

Have you tried Tale of Two Wastelands?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:26 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


You could even make me pay small amounts of money to pull or store items (though I could see this going very wrong)!

FFXIV has this - you can pay $2/month/retainer to get up to nine, then add $5/month for the full companion app for a tenth (plus a second saddlebag.)

I have ten retainers, two saddlebags, and still struggle with being a pack rat.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:27 AM on February 4


I just spent about ten minutes recycling the giant pile of "rare" weapons and armor I'm carrying around in AssCreed Odyssey. It was kind of cathartic. Now I actually have interesting decisions to make about my loadouts. Maybe. Once I upgrade all this shit to my current level.

I got enough resources to upgrade all of two weapons before I ran out of wood. Thanks, Ubisoft. Thanks for that.
posted by egypturnash at 9:35 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Great post, Fizz! I think about inventory management a lot. Even though it can be frustrating, I usually enjoy climbing the initial curve in the games I play (like Stardew Valley, Skyrim, Fallout 3 & NV)--at first having to be extremely strict about items, working hard to expand inventory space, etc. Until I get the dopamine blast of finally being able to build or acquire a chest or motel room or house as a safe place to hoard all of my decorative cheeses).

Breath of the Wild is a stern but compassionate game, in which I am forced not to hoard everything, even once I do have a house. At first the mechanic with the weapons/shields breaking had me super stressed out, but after a while I became accustomed to the game's abundance: use them! Break them! The game will give you more, constantly.

(...ok I still do hoard one or two of the juiciest ones. But still.)

I have friends who have given up inventory management forever--they use mods for unlimited inventory/carryweight/etc. I've never felt the urge to do that, weirdly enough...I actually like the gameplay and almost puzzle-solvey aspect of the limitations.
posted by theatro at 9:38 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Death Stranding - where the entire game is about carrying around shedloads of stuff, and you end up with ridiculous stacks of gear towering above your head on your back. Yet another way this game does stuff weirdly differently, yet better.

"Maybe the fact that I can be seen behind tall buildings, while stumbling over every small bump and lump at a snail's pace means that I'm carrying too much...? Better go and throw some of my faeces at dead people then."
posted by MattWPBS at 9:39 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Ahh, AC:Odyssey. The game you can play for 15 hours and make barely a dent in progress!
posted by SoberHighland at 9:40 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]



You could even make me pay small amounts of money to pull or store items (though I could see this going very wrong)!

FFXIV has this - you can pay $2/month/retainer to get up to nine, then add $5/month for the full companion app for a tenth (plus a second saddlebag.)


I do think there's a balance to be had with regards to managing inventory and straight up being constrained to the point that you just hate the game because it's too hard to carry shit around that you need in order to survive the game.

Could Square Enix program their game to allow bags to have unlimited inventory so that this is not something you'd have to worry about paying extra for? The answer is probably yes. But maybe allowing for these types of micro-transactions helps to keep the service going. Then again you already pay for a monthly subscription.

@NoxAeternum, do you feel like this service is exploitative or does it make your life easier and yet still provide something fun and engaging to do while you're in the game? Genuinely curious. I'm assuming this is more a quality of life kind of option for people. And if you decide not to do this in the game, you're not really impacted that much and can just avoid these transactions.
posted by Fizz at 9:54 AM on February 4


Death Stranding - where the entire game is about carrying around shedloads of stuff, and you end up with ridiculous stacks of gear towering above your head on your back. Yet another way this game does stuff weirdly differently, yet better.

My only quibble with Death Stranding is that they gave you this button that does that management automatically. It would have made the game so much more interesting (and maybe at times frustrating) to force the player to play luggage tetris with the packages we're carrying. I wonder about that game that might exist had it been this way.
posted by Fizz at 9:55 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Inventory in games can be tricky and exhausting. I don't like the term "hoarder" so I tend to think of myself as a "pack rat" instead because you never know when the developers will screw you over with a pie from the first act needed to defeat a yeti in the last act (King's Quest V has so many WTF moments like that which could easily lead to you a unwinnable state). In recent years, I've found games with modular weapons particularly exhausting - this mod increases the weapon's accuracy but this one increases the hit points but this one freezes opponents for 5 seconds and you can only use one... Augh. I've actually avoided playing some games because of that. Generally when starting a new game nowadays, I've turned to Reddit and exhaustive & detailed walkthroughs just so I can determine whether a item is necessary or worth keeping. But saying that I kind of like when the game allows me to pick random things that I can craft and resell (I played Witcher 2 recently and the main way I made money was making potions and reselling them).
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:57 AM on February 4


Encumbrance is the #1 most-frequent reason I turn on god mode in Skyrim. Actual combat? Pfft, who needs god mode for that. But I just don't have the time in my life to spend a half an hour crawling back to town, nor am I inclined to make 5 trips back and forth to carry all that dragonbone. I don't mind inventory management in games like System Shock 2, where scarcity and resource-management are major parts of the mechanics, but strict inventory limits in games which just constantly throw a superabundance of useful/desirable stuff at you drives me up the wall. Skyrim's really not a resource management game in any significant sense, so giving you exactly one scarce resource - carrying capacity - just sticks out like a sore thumb.

And if the designers are worried about characters being effectively immortal because they can eat 700 cheese wheels in the middle of combat and recover all their health, there are many, many better ways to deal with that than capping the number of cheese wheels they can carry to "only" 150 or so. Recently I've been replaying Temple of Elemental Evil with the Temple+ and Circle of Eight mods and even though Troika was never able to implement Bags of Holding, one of those two mods managed to implement "Extraplanar Chest", a spell which creates a chest you can summon, load up with stuff, then dismiss back to the astral plane, then once you're back in town next to the blacksmith you re-summon the chest and sell all the loot. But everything in the chest is effectively totally inaccessible in combat so you anything you might actually need you gotta keep on hand.

As sensible as that kind of system is IMO, I still think fondly of Dungeon Siege, which had a party member that was literally a mule. Effectively worthless in combat, no skills or abilities, but an absolutely bonkers amount of inventory space. And of course you could buy multiple mules, so where the game intended you to assemble a party of doughty adventurers with maybe one faithful mule, it was not uncommon for players to instead decided to go through the whole game with just one hero leading an entire mule train through the dungeons. Dungeon Siege 2 expanded it into a pet system (a precursor to Torchlight's, really) where you could get more useful/dangerous critters, but a mule was still an option and a lot of us really loved our mules by then. Now, I'm not saying that Dungeon Siege 3's commercial failure was entirely due to not having a mule in the party anymore, but it surely didn't help!
posted by mstokes650 at 9:57 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Skyrim's really not a resource management game in any significant sense, so giving you exactly one scarce resource - carrying capacity - just sticks out like a sore thumb.

You're a humanoid reptile creature that can breathe underwater and can wield the elements and open a portal to Oblivion(Hell) itself, but carry one too many pewter mugs and you're going to have a bad time.
posted by Fizz at 10:01 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


For scratching the hoarding itch, games like "Control" are my preference. The things you collect in that game are bits of lore. Letters, memos, audio and video recordings, radio broadcasts. All things that expand the universe, including some really cool Easter eggs found in secret areas that reveal certain interconnected stories.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 11:07 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


I haven't seen it mentioned yet but the original Baldur's Gate was bruuuuutal for this, especially the first couple of times I played when I thought that the books might be important and I didn't want to throw them away. At least the arrows stacked for chrissakes?!

I spend Too Much Time playing path of exile, and I restart every time there's a new league, and I play self found so I can't just buy the stuff I want...and so I spend a lot of time managing inventory and stash. They have been very clever about monetizing the various flavors of stash, I cant for the life of me figure out how it is that they havent either monetized or in-gamed a unique item that makes the pack itself more flexible. I'd pay real and repeated money for that. Same goes for being able to stack the stash tabs like...any other tab based interface, ever?

So I LOVED torchlight II, where I could just tell my ferret to fuck off every 15 minutes or so and they'd come back with money and drugs. Ultimately I found POE to be the better game, so I grudgingly went back to its embrace.

I have only played a bit of Skyrim (cant get the hang of combat on the keyboard) but at the first real opp I had to pick up a lot of shit at once in someone's house in the first village, I thought, OH NO, this is going to be awful for completetist packrat me if its like this everywhere. Pretty much gave up at that point. Open world open inventory is a great concept but I think it breaks my limited head.

Tangentially related but this also reminds me of unit customization in some of the middle aged Sid Meier civ games, where you'd have 9 vehicles of the same type that are all slightly different because of when you built or upgraded them, no real way to normalize the stack to all one type, and no way to really tell what the small differences netted you.
posted by hearthpig at 11:11 AM on February 4


Grid-based inventory is only good when there are different-sized items, like Diablo 1 & 2, and inventory management basically becomes Tetris. They should make it more like Tetris, not less. I want items slow-falling from above! I want to have to rotate staves so they stack neatly! I want 8-bit Russian folk music on my inventory screen!

Also if you accidentally complete a row, the entire row should disappear
posted by oulipian at 11:39 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


For scratching the hoarding itch, games like "Control" are my preference. The things you collect in that game are bits of lore. Letters, memos, audio and video recordings, radio broadcasts

Bioshock & Prey (both immersive sims) also have this same way of world-building. They scatter these items and you learn more about the space you're inhabiting. I don't mind this kind of lore, especially if it doesn't consume inventory slots. I'd rather pick up an item like this, learn a bit about lore and then have it notated in a journal.
posted by Fizz at 11:44 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I'm better at inventory management in games than I am in real life. If I could take all the shit in my house that we don't use and will likely never use but keep around just in case we might need it to a single merchant who would give me a pile of cash for everything, all at once, with no haggling, I'd be there with a U-Haul.

Fallout 4 is my current go-to game, and as my husband noted, I play it as a building sim with occasional combat. To that end, I installed a mod that gave me 100k of everything I need to build stuff that I could stash in my workshop, and I can build to my heart's content. I don't have to go scavenging for desk fans and circuit boards and oil cans so I can build my modernist castle in the sky.

In most loot/junk collecting games, I collect everything for a while then get sick of inventory management and just sell everything while hoarding medkits, repair kits, and ammunition. Fallout's inventory management isn't bad, for me. The Outer Worlds was an asspain in so many ways I can't even articulate why I loathe it so much. Skyrim...sigh. So much stuff.

On preview, oh! Prey had brilliant inventory management! It was Tetris-style, per oilipian's post, with a simple and effective crafting system. It worked well for me and my style of play, whatever that actually means.

Still, I want one real-world shop where I just dump everything, they sort out the price, and then give me money.
posted by malthusan at 11:55 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


If you don't pick up the junk mail, you can't get the Babel Fish.

OMG! That was how you did it?
posted by nubs at 12:15 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I've always sorta wanted a Hardcore-hardcore mode, with strictly realistic weight limits and restrictions based on how you're carrying things.

So: got no bags? Well, then you can carry like four things my dude. Got bags, great, but remember to drop them before you enter combat or you're gonna have a bad time. Got yourself a backpack? Even better! ...except now you need to get the pack off your back before you enter combat or you're gonna have a bad time. Pack frame! Keen! Except now it takes like three minutes to get it off and you can't be fending off swords while doing so...

Plus anything in a bag is automatically reorganized every time you open the bag so you have to dig around to find anything. Definitely would want to have retainers, pack animals, travois, wagons, caches, and so on. Military Logistics Simulator: The Game!
posted by aramaic at 12:29 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I do this in Diablo, trying to collect all the ancient legendary items into my stash. A season is so short that I'll never use 99.95% of them, but who knows?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:37 PM on February 4


I've come to really hate the percentage completion metrics that games are obligated to display now, and I really doubt those came about organically even if their function as a dopamine spammer now means that there would be endless flak for removing them. As with a lot of things in my life, I've been happy to just take a C and move on rather than actively participate in my own quantification.
posted by invitapriore at 12:38 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


My only quibble with Death Stranding is that they gave you this button that does that management automatically. It would have made the game so much more interesting (and maybe at times frustrating) to force the player to play luggage tetris with the packages we're carrying. I wonder about that game that might exist had it been this way.

I think this could be conceptually neat, but the game doesn't feel like it gives you enough tools to do this properly. I noticed this when I realized that the auto-arrange feature sometimes does stupid things, like put mission deliverables outside your backpack cover (and thus exposing it to timefall decay) while sticking your arguably more disposable weapons inside the cover. I've since read that the system tries to lower your center of gravity; I'm not sure if that's true but that would explain why it sometimes does things that feel like the opposite of what I would've done.

If you want to reorganize your packages to protect mission-critical items and leave everything else exposed, you have to basically dump everything on the ground and only pick things up in order of most precious to least precious, because the first things you pick up get placed inside the backpack while everything else gets stacked on top. If you hit the auto-arrange button at any point during this process, enjoy doing it all over again.

I guess from a real-life perspective, having to completely empty your backpack to organize it properly is realistic, but it's one thing about the game I was quite pleased to not have to simulate in a realistic fashion very often.

(as an aside: I loved Death Stranding way more than I ever expected to.)
posted by chrominance at 12:45 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Oh, for anyone who wants the most inventory management game out there, I mean it's LITERALLY inventory management, you should check out Wilmot's Warehouse. [Previously.]
posted by Fizz at 12:47 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The Outer Worlds was an asspain in so many ways I can't even articulate why I loathe it so much.

Ugh, the inventory in this game is so bad. It actively discourages me from playing it. Let's have 3 functionally identical consumables that don't stack with each other and all have basically meaningless names and pictures. I'm playing almost entirely for the NPC plots right now and I'm getting tempted to look up the stories on YouTube.

I should probably just sell everything anyway. I'm playing on normal and have literally never used a consumable outside whatever the default health regen one is.
posted by ODiV at 12:48 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


The nice thing with Outer Worlds is that you can sell everything to a vendor and it'll sit in their Buy Back section forever. So if you reeeeeeealy need that tossball card back, you can just go buy it. The only thing that is permanent is the armor/weapon breakdown for parts, which I find myself doing often in the field because I don't need another shotgun to maintain. But I'm in the hording predicament too. I have a locker on my ship full of my original armor suit because I don't want to part with it, even though it's effectively useless.
posted by msbutah at 1:14 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Death Stranding - where the entire game is about carrying around shedloads of stuff, and you end up with ridiculous stacks of gear towering above your head on your back. Yet another way this game does stuff weirdly differently, yet better.

Apparently the Death Stranding vertical backpack arrangement is based on a real technique used by Japanese porters who refill vending machines and make other deliveries to areas inaccessible by vehicles. I don't know if the real-world porters need to defend themselves from other porters who have been driven mad by the desire to deliver cargo, though.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:30 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Don’t play No Man’s Sky, then - the inventory limits are insane and you can buy inventory slots, up to a limit. The game has its own periodic table and every element is usable and sellable, though some of it is not worth the effort of carting it around.

Pre-NEXT, the inventory limits were ridiculously low. You still get the lower limits in survival or permadeath modes if you prefer, though. I think the current normal mode limits have gone a bit too far the other way, but that may be my lack of self control talking. I'm still constantly running out of space, but now because my packrat tendencies are being exacerbated.

(NMS is a great game, IMO, and has been since at least Atlas Rises when I bought in)
posted by wierdo at 1:38 PM on February 4


My chief complaint with inventory management is that it takes you out of the gameplay screen - you know, where the fun stuff happens - and forces you to do what is essentially a book-keeping exercise.

Bethesda address this issue by making the inventory screen extremely lightweight - basically it’s a list. This isn’t great, but it’s far better than the grid-based systems used by Witcher 3 and Outer World.

A lot of this boils down to, I think, whether the developer used keyboard and mouse when developing the game versus using a controller.
posted by um at 1:58 PM on February 4


I actually thought OW was way better than the Fallouts I'd played -- mostly because of the prevalence of the vending machines. You really can pick up everything, and not end up overburdened, because there's a machine coming up soon no matter where you are.

In Fallout 3, I made endless fast-travel hops between far-away piles of crap and home base, to avoid abandoning anything that I could sell for caps or horde in my hovel.
posted by uberchet at 3:21 PM on February 4


@NoxAeternum, do you feel like this service is exploitative or does it make your life easier and yet still provide something fun and engaging to do while you're in the game? Genuinely curious. I'm assuming this is more a quality of life kind of option for people.

It is, especially as you get several special storage types (you have your armory chest for your actual gear with 35 storage per slot (though you'll use this, since you can have every job on one character), the armoire for rewards, the glamour dresser has 400 slots for glamour gear, plus you get 2 retainers and a saddlebag for free.) That said, retainers do more than just provide storage - they're how you sell items, plus can be leveled in jobs off their own and sent out to get you materials and items - so having more has benefits beyond "more storage".
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:28 PM on February 4


Playing Skyrim on PC I found the inventory system so bad that I started a zero item run, where I played through the game without a single piece of equipment - no weapons, no armor, no consumables. I fought using illusory weapons (summoned a magic sword or bow when needed) or cast spells.

The game was much better for me after that.
posted by xdvesper at 4:39 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


My memory of the King's Quest (Space Quest, Police Quest, etc) games was not limited inventory but limited save slots. They definitely did have ways you could get into an unwinnable state that you didn't figure out until many hours of game play later. I seem to recall one of the Space Quests where you could screw it up at the beginning of the game in a way you wouldn't figure out until the very end.
posted by jeather at 4:51 PM on February 4


One of the many great things about Death Stranding is that even though it's a game about carrying stuff, and you spend a lot of time in inventory screens, it doesn't really have this pack-rat problem. Cargo is temporary: you pick it up to take it somewhere, and then you get rid of it. The equipment you use (ropes, ladders, boots, heat-pads for the mountains, etc.) is basically disposable: you make it when you need it, then recycle it or leave it in a locker when you don't need it anymore, and it tends to wear out while you carry it so if you don't have a good reason to take something with you you just leave it behind.

And the items you find laying around the world are usually low-value, so you only go out of your way to collect them when doing so fits in with your current delivery plan. When you explore the landscape it's in search of a new path through difficult terrain, or new people to meet, or just to look at the (amazing) scenery, not to find more stuff to accumulate. There is some really brilliant game design here.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:52 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I feel like part of the problem with hoarding is that, if you use something you later need, you don't know how to get it back, whereas if you just have it on you, at all times, then you don't need to worry.

I wonder how much players would still hoard if the game kept track of everywhere you saw something, and when you were out of materials it popped up a little sentence that said 'I remember seeing this in the general store in White Springs' or 'the scorpions in Painted Desert usually have these'. (Other things that every game should do to make inventory less painful: set crafting recipes and other 'collect a bunch of materials' as quests, like Horizon Zero Dawn does; have a system to communicate the very common design pattern of 'you need 20 of these items, #1-#20 are extremely precious and you should never sell them, #21 on is vendor trash'; have something so when you get an important drop for the first time it's clear players should hang onto it until they know what it's for, and when they know what it's for, put that on the description.)
posted by Merus at 5:15 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Fallout 4 had something like what you describe - there was a perk that allowed you to flag a component like for example Fiber Optics, and then whenever you encountered scrap that contained that component (a microscope for instance), it would be highlighted.
posted by um at 6:58 PM on February 4


That's not quite what I mean, because that still encourages you to hoover up everything you see to avoid the situation where you're trying to build something, you need 10 Fiber Optics, and you have no choice but to go out and wander around until you find them. I want something that takes that loop and makes it a formalised part of the game structure - Horizon Zero Dawn is a good example here, where most resources come from robots and are named after the robots, and there's a function that anything you can craft or buy with resources can be set as a quest. So not only can you go 'dammit, I need Strider components, where's the nearest Strider nest', but when you kill Striders and get the specific bits you need, there's a UI element that says '3/5 Strider Circuits'.

Now, it's not smart enough to do this for two quests at once, but it's a start.
posted by Merus at 7:29 PM on February 4


Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup used to have a mechanic (monster respawn, jellies could eat items left on the floor) that encouraged making a "stash" in Lair 1 or Lair 2.

After that was reworked in DCSS and <ctrl>-f let you find anything that you've seen in the game and allow auto-travel to it (takes turns and time in game but essentially instantaneously in realtime unless you encounter something).

In theory, the extra in-game time is trivial unless you're speedrunning or a food-constrained species and that finding and going to gear is overall less costly than making trips to drop stuff of in one's stash. I'm skeptical about those numbers on most builds.

I'm still a hoarder and like arranging my shinier drops. My excuse is that it makes it easier for me to mix and match to find the best set of resists/ bonuses (and least bad or compensated-for maluses) I can as I find new drops - I can do it dancing over my stash more efficiently than <ctrl>-f-ing through each resistance slot.

This is apparently highly polarizing and non-hoarders deride hoarders at any opportunity.
posted by porpoise at 7:46 PM on February 4


Lemme tell you a little story about a game called Neo Scavenger
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:04 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I recently played the hell out of Dragon Quest Builders 2 after it came out for PC. Very early in the game, your character gets a bag upgrade. A massive one with hundreds and hundreds of slots. Inventory space isn't an issue for the rest of the game, at least during the storyline.

I wish every game would do this. Developers keep thinking bag management, and being selective about what loot you take, is a fun minigame. It really isn't. I suppose being able to take anything and everything isn't realistic, but most bag limits in most games are far from realistic already. It was nice in DQ Builders to be able to concentrate on a task or a quest without having to do a back and forth trudge between storage chests and shops.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:19 AM on February 5


My ex got completely obsessed with Diablo 2, specifically collecting all the set items.
So we set up characters for each set and she'd grind and grind and grind for items and gold and trading with that guy in Lut Gholein for hours and hours.

I was always kinda irked at the lengths you needed to go to to achieve this goal and kinda wished there was a long term storage option where you could permanently store a set item. Like a trophy case.
It's exactly the kind of self imposed obsessive challenge that goes down well with many gamers.
Stardew valley actually does a pretty good job of this showing you all the things you've found and how many things you've shipped and how many things have gone to the museum etc.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:05 AM on February 5


The current edition D&D rules are light on equipment and encumbrance, but in general you still wouldn't be able to do that. The PHB says that weapons used by monsters are usually worthless

If memory serves, even back in 3e a sling had weight 0 and cost 0, and rocks are generally inexhaustible resources in most climates. So there's no mechanical reason you can't carry around a hundred million slings, in case you need to arm your nearest peasant uprising. You can also Wish for an arbitrarily large number of them, and since physical dimensions in 3-space don't exist for the purposes of inventory management, they're all treated like they occupy your rucksack, so you can create your very own miniature black hole!
posted by Mayor West at 7:53 AM on February 5


I really liked the Metal Gear V: Phantom Pain approach to inventory management. You can "only" carry a couple of large weapons and a sidearm, and you have a limited amount of slots (8, i think? Need to double check) dedicated to other usable items. Everything has a "deployment" cost, encouraging you to really think about if you want to deploy with a ton of shit or not. Carrying more also makes you louder.

You can pick up any enemy weapon, but you'll have to exchange it with the one you are using, and it's only really useful in a pinch - and you can't take it back with you permanently. All enemy weapons are ephemeral, and only situationally useful.

Need something that you don't have right now? Well, you can request a supplies drop - again, for a fee, based on what you are requesting. Same with additional ammo. Don't have the space for something you've requested or found? Just toss something - while there's a deployment cost, that's the only penalty.

You effectively have an infinite amount of whatever items or weapons you can use, you just can't use them all at once, and there is effectively a usage tax on them. You have to be thoughtful about what you deploy with and use at any given moment, but if you forgot the specific thing that would be really useful, you can request it, and dropping something doesn't mean it's permanently lost.

There is a LOT to criticize in MGS:V, but in terms of dealing with inventory in an open world, it's one of the better systems.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:41 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I want something that takes that loop and makes it a formalised part of the game structure - Horizon Zero Dawn is a good example here

Can I just say I'm super excited this is finally coming to PC?
posted by ODiV at 8:57 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


My favorite non-modded Skyrim exploit is that you can order a companion to pick something up and it won't count against their inventory weight limit. My character, Murderface McKenzie, took his mother-in-law shopping in the dwemer ruins for a little family bonding time before he cornered the market on dwarven bows. She was thrilled to carry hundreds of pounds of weight for him. Unlike Jenassa, who had a way of staring at him while picking stuff up that clearly communicated she was above such petty labor. (Jenassa eventually triggered a boulder trap and killed herself. Murderface wasn't too broken up over that.)
posted by telophase at 9:22 AM on February 5


I hate games that make inventory management a key component of play. I stopped playing DDO in part because of restrictive inventory. And while Torchlight's pet system is good it still restricts inventory and it has unique item sets. The latter is infuriating when combined with the former. I done mind carryable inventory limits as much but give me a Raiders of the Lost Ark/Warehouse 13 style infinite storage location where I can toss stuff I might need later or can just use a feel-good accomplishment tokens.
posted by Mitheral at 9:29 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


An NPC contractor I can hire to return to and loot cleared areas for me in exchange for a cut would be fucking great (in Witcher 3 particularly, right now, but I'm looking at you F4). Ragnar's High Risk Salvage, eliminating tedium and providing new secondary quests to select protagonists.
posted by BS Artisan at 12:29 PM on February 5


Would Megaton have meant anything to you if Bethesda hadn’t given you reasons to go back?

Why would I go back to a radioactive hole in the ground?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:57 PM on February 5


An NPC contractor I can hire to return to and loot cleared areas for me in exchange for a cut would be fucking great

...that's a pretty nifty idea, frankly. In fact, you could even turn that general premise into a human-driven activity: in the right kind of game environment it might be interesting to have lower-level human players act as the "cleanup crew" for higher-level players, who are then in turn tasked with clearing things out sufficiently. Balancing would be tricky, but it could be fun (for those versions of "fun" which involve being potentially killed by some hideous bloodfrenzy nightmare that the high-level folks failed to notice).
posted by aramaic at 3:09 PM on February 5


This one time, my cat tripped a polymorph trap in the bottom of the mines and turned into some sort of fire lizard thing. She proceeded to kill everything in sight. I sacrificed priests and converted altars, robbed bare every shop, looted every vault...

Had so much shit that it was packed away in chests and bags of holding in a dead-end tunnel protected by inscriptions. Cleared out levels and levels while moving things along the way until I realized that I had no idea what I was doing and I was still like level 3 and could die in an instant. So I just gave up.

One of these days.... I'm sure I'll eventually try again and I WILL ASCEND.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:56 PM on February 5


I always pick up everything until I realize it's one of *those* games, then I pick a coins per pound value that defines for me what's picking up.

I have been playing Deliverance : Kingdom Come recently. It is the LA Noire meets Mount and Blade game that I now know I don't need, but it still amuses me occasionally. It has a Herbalism mechanic where if you lean down to pick up a daisy, it picks up all daisies in a certain radius. Said radius is determined by your Herbalism skill, which goes up with use.

The skill description clearly says this is how it works. I didn't read it, though, because usually the flower picking skill description is not something that requires your attention.

I still remember very clearly becoming overloaded during a long distance cross country walk, because I had nearly a hundred pounds of flowers. I was very confused as to how this had happened.
posted by quillbreaker at 5:08 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I wish every game would do this. Developers keep thinking bag management, and being selective about what loot you take, is a fun minigame. It really isn't.

The problem for me is that generally the only thing that makes the bag management "challenging" is that it's really boring. If there were actual tactical, strategic or plot considerations great. There aren't. There's no trade off except in how much tedium you want to impose on yourself for a marginal increase of gold.

I'd love to see a game that tracked time and consequences of, say, multiple trips to a location as you cart out every last bit of loot, without actually making you walk across the map 16 times. That's more like tabletop--the DM doesn't pull out the map of the deserted dungeon each trip back but will throw curveballs at you if you dally.

Computer games do exactly the opposite--no consequences but no shortcuts either. Doing what I want on a computer would be a lot of work to balance and probably have a smaller audience, so I doubt it'll happen.
posted by mark k at 9:05 PM on February 5


Angband has had, for a long time, a fairly powerful squelch feature. It simply hides squelched items from the player, based on what the player wants to hide. As you get higher-quality gear, you can simply hide the lower-tier items so that you don't even have to consider them. It even lets you hide gold drops so that you can prevent yourself from getting greedy and then being sniped by a dragon or something. More games need to have something like this, but it's complex to implement.

However, one of the biggest changes to inventory management that Angband made was to get rid of selling loot altogether. Since nothing has any monetary value, you simply evaluate the weapon/armor/item for your current needs, and take it or leave it. Prior to "no-sell" being the default, I would waste so much time gathering drops, cramming the most valuable ones in my pack, and returning to town to sell them. The lack of selling was balanced by increasing gold drops and I thought it worked really well. It certainly would have saved me lots of time in Fallouts and other games from hauling piles of valuable items just to sell them.

Another inventory management feature that really should be in more games is the "quick stack to nearby chests" from Terraria. Since you automatically pick up items in that game, you end up with lots of stuff when you return to base. You just set up junk chests for things you don't want and then place then with your other chests. Every now and then, you just need to trash or sell those items, leaving one, and you're good to go.
posted by bonje at 9:25 PM on February 5


The real solution is that we need a minigame of Wilmot's Warehouse embedded in these games.
posted by msbutah at 12:14 PM on February 7


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